"My Own Private Idaho"

My Own Private Idaho (1991) is a Gus Van Sant retelling of Shakespeare's Henry IV. As such, it takes much from Orson Well's Fallstaff. It is also a buddy/road movie, where one character finds redemption, and the other doesn't. River Phoenix is a narcoleptic male hooker, and Keanu Reeves is his best friend, and son of the wealthy mayor, due to inherit money and power, but currently also a street hustler. Their "Fallstaff" is an older street hustler named Bob, who is sort of the father figure of the miscreants.

Phoenix and Reeves go on a road trip to find the mother that abandoned Phoenix and go all the way to Italy following her trail, but never find her. In Italy, Reeves falls for Chiara Caselli, and brings her back to Portland, Oregon, where he receives his inheritance, and becomes completely establishment. Bob, heartbroken that the Reeves character more or less disowns him, dies, as does Reeves' real father. This is the sort of film that film historians love to analyze, and it is just strange enough that anything they say about it seems plausible. For that reason, the Criterion Collection DVD set includes an entire second DVD basically of analysis audio tracks, and a few deleted scenes. I didn't listen to most of it. The film is visually striking, and is a frank portrayal of street hustling, but is packed with as much visual symbolism as the 102 minutes could possibly hold. It is also well acted.

Chiara Caselli shows breasts and buns in a short sex scene presented as a series of stills. There were lots of male buns in the film. IMDb readers have this at 6.7, and Phoenix won several festival awards with his performance. It earned $6.4M against a $2.54M budget. This isn't just an art film, it is one of the artiest films of all time. The dialogue switches between Shakespeare-like prose and street talk, and the visuals waffle between stark reality and nearly surreal imagery. If the material appeals to you, Criterian did a very nice job on the DVD set. This is a C+, but for a limited audience.

  • Thumbnails

  • Chiara Caseli (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)


    • Charlie's French Cinema Nudity site is updated. This week's update is small, but I think I can sum up succinctly why you shoudk check it out: Mathilda May topless in a 2005 TV show. Mathilda's face is not as beautiful as it was in The Jackal, but those award-winning boobs still look impressive!



    Remedy (2005):

    Remedy is a New York crime-and-drugs film with an unexpected twist ending. It seems that a junkie witnessed his best friend's murder. Or not. He was so wacked out that he doesn't remember what he saw. The police are understandably upset with this explanation, and consider him the #1 suspect. What did happen that night, and why?

    That's the premise, and it is carried out with an extremely low budget ($175,000). It was basically assembled  as a community project by three young, unknown performers: Jon Dosher, Christian Maelen, and Nicholas Reiner. Reiner wrote the screenplay and played a small but important part. Maelen was the star as well as the director. Dosher produced the film and also played the second lead.

    In order to add a veneer of cinema respectability, the three unknowns hired some familiar New York crime story actors to fill out the cast. Arthur Nascarella, the former NYPD cop who often plays tough guys or tough New York cops (as he does here). There's also the guy who played Billy Batts in Goodfellas, and the guy who played Big Pussy in The Sopranos. Big Pussy has a small role, and that's a shame, because he was excellent and convincing in each of his scenes, even though he was playing a bit against type.

    The ensemble is rounded out with some novelty casting: Danny Aiello sings part of the sound track; Danny's son plays a medium sized role; former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley has a few lines as a world-weary drug dealer; and a few pretty girls show up to do lesbian scenes (dual redhead action!) or just remove their clothing. The one important female role is played competently by a newcomer named Candice Coke, and she manages to remove her clothing as well.

    Overall, the main thrust of the film isn't bad, and it might have been an entertaining little guilty pleasure film if some more experienced people had their hands on the controls. Unfortunately, the low budget and the inexperience of the principals really show through. The entire film has a claustrophobic indoor feel to it, and there are some scenes which are just plain clumsy at best. Dosher is a pretty solid actor, but he has a couple of the strangest scenes:

    (1) He throws an athletic bag at a cop, then escapes from him by clumsily scaling a wall in Central Park. Besides looking ridiculous, that scene is so wrong in so many ways. First of all, he's right on the doorstep of his apartment when he runs. It's not like he's going to get away somehow, since the cop obviously knows where he lives, and we find out in another scene that the cop also knows where he works.  So why did he run at all? Second, the scene isn't necessary or even directly related to the main plot. Third, he had no reason to run away in the first place, because we later find out he wasn't the murderer. So what the hell was that whole scene about?

    (2) He is a dentist. An ugly old lady patient wants his man-meat, and threatens him when he won't deliver the special injection. He is refusing again when the police come to his office about the murder investigation. Seeing the police, she accuses him of sexual misconduct. The police immediately forget that whole silly murder thing and take him downtown for the obviously silly sexual assault. (They could see nobody in his right mind would assault this woman.) Stranger still is the fact that this entire plot thread is then dropped completely, and we never hear from the old lady again.

    In addition to the dental patient, there are some other plot threads and concepts introduced but never developed. The leading character appears as a young boy in bizarre flashbacks to the death of his mother and father, all of which are seen in snippets of memory, none of which are ever explained. I'm still not sure what was going on in those flashbacks, although I know they end with the father's suicide.

    There is some crazy dialogue as well. The Maelen character is a junkie/artist who hasn't worked (or bathed) in many months. He seems to be about as big a loser as it is possible to be. At one point, he goes to his rich uncle to get a share of his family inheritance, at which time Uncle Charles says, "your parents would be so proud of you." And ol' Uncle Charles knows about his nephews lifestyle. Yeah, I'm sure the parents would be thrilled to see the kid shooting dad's hard-earned fortune into his arm.

    This may have been an attempt at humor, since some sources, including the official site, call it a "darkly comic tale."

    Oh, well. It is a movie made by inexperienced people with no money. Those things sometimes work out (Reservoir Dogs, e.g.), but not often. What else is there to say? Despite that, it might have worked had it stuck close to the knitting, because the basic plot - the junkie trying to remember what happened during the murder - was solid, and had an interesting resolution. Unfortunately, it did not adhere closely to that framework, and the digressions were generally sloppy and uninteresting.

    • Candice Coke (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • Krie Alden (1, 2)



    Ripper 2: Letters From Within (2003):

    There are really only two things you need to know about Ripper 2:

    (1) It is a sequel to a movie which was confusing and totally unrewarding to begin with.

    (2) The sequel was directed by Lloyd Simandl, the Prague-based master of cheapozoid Czechsploitation.

    Here's a quick look at some of Lloyd's career:

    1. (4.47) - Crackerjack 3 (2000)
    2. (4.28) - Heaven's Tears (1994)
    3. (3.99) - Dark Confessions (1998)
    4. (3.91) - Autumn Born (1979)
    5. (3.76) - Escape Velocity (1998)
    6. (3.72) - Lethal Target (1999)
    7. (3.60) - Dangerous Prey (1995)
    8. (3.43) - Empire of Ash II (1988)
    9. (3.43) - Ripper 2: Letter from Within (2003)
    10. (3.16) - Ultimate Desires (1992)
    11. (3.07) - Chained Heat II (1993)
    12. (2.72) - Last Stand (2000)
    13. (2.70) - Fatal Conflict (2000)

    A quarter of a century of filmmaking and his career highlight is Crackerjack 3! You just know that mommy and daddy Simandl must be proud of their little rascal.

    My concluding comment on the first Ripper film was, "So if you figure this out, you can explain it to me." Well sir, the first film was a masterpiece of clarity, as straightforward and lucid as The Sound of Music, compared to this version.

    Just about all we know for sure is that the lead character from the first film, Molly, is in an asylum for the mentally ill. Nothing else is certain. She imagines things. She imagines things about imagining things. She imagines things about imagining things about virtual reality. In that virtual reality there are other people creating a virtual reality with her. Or maybe she just imagined them. In one level of the fantasy, she can get to computers which control what is happening on another level. Or maybe she is just imagining that as well. I got completely lost about what was real and what was imagined, and completely confused by how many levels each scene was removed from reality. She could wake up from a dream only to find out later that she was only dreaming about waking up from a dream. I think some scenes were nested as many as four levels inside other levels, making the entire film like one of those Russian puzzle boxes.

    Lloyd Simandl's current specialty is soft core sex films. This is not one of those, but it includes elements of that genre, like long and irrelevant scenes of gratuitous sexual acts between random strangers in a Czech sex club. I suppose you may consider than a plus or a minus. I vote minus.

    Apart from some impressive photographs of old castles and Prague street scenes, I can't think of any genuine positives in this film. It is freakishly incoherent. It isn't very scary, or even especially gory. The very end of the film is one of the oldest clichés in the book. The DVD is void of features, and overpriced. There just isn't much good to say. Essentially, this movie bites the big one.

    • Myfanwy Waring (1, 2)

    • some Czech Czichs (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)


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    • The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
    • If there is a white asterisk, it means that there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined there might be something else of interest.
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    Jr's Polls
    This week's poll (Best Sex Scene in a Mainstream Movie ) was a close race but we do have a winner!

    I'll have the offical results and write up in a day or two.

    Here are the results of our most recent other polls...
    The Top 20 Nude Scenes of 2004
    The Best Nude Film Debuts of the 80s
    The Best Nude Film Debuts of the 90s
    Which actress has been the most convincing playing a stripper.
    Who has the best bum in Hollywood?
    Best All Time Television Comedy
    Best Nudity in an Oscar-winning performance.

    Email Scoopy Jr. with more nominees, comments or suggestions.

    'Caps and comments by Spaz:

    "Men With Brooms" (2002)
    A Canadian comedy about curling. This movie had one mission and one mission only: to make more money and show more beaver than Porky's Men With Brooms was a modest hit domestically but didn't get released theatrically in the USA where the real non-Canadian Tire money is. But it did show alot of beaver.

    • Polly Shannon: skimpy underwear. If those center circle targets where moved up and down a few more inches the movie would have made another hundred million dollars at the box office.
    • Molly Parker: shirtless.
    • Jane Spidell: partial butt having sex.
    • Kari Matchett: fully clothed sex.
    • Michelle Nolden: ewww! Getting felt up by Paul Gross.
    • Danielle Hampton: nice sweater shot as uncredited spectator.
    • obligatory beaver shot: there is enough beaver pelt in this movie to make a rug. Unfortunately none of the above actresses participated.

    Scoprion's Skinemax
    First up, scenes from the French-Canadian flick "Riders" aka "Steal", starring Stephen Dorff and Natasha Henstridge. is Here is an unknown babe in scenes from "Ripper 2: Letter from Within" (2003). Produced and co-directed by our Czechsploitation hero, Lloyd A. Simandl.

    Next up, scenes from Fred Olen Ray's "The Bikini Escort Company" (2004).

    • Here we have former NFL cheerleader Beverly Lynne and porn babe Cailey Taylor having some lesbo and 3-way fun. (1, 2)

    • Porn babe Stacy Burke showing off all 3 B's (including some really fake boobs). (1, 2)

    • Stacy Burke and Anastasia Pierce...more lesbotronic lovin'.

    Jessica Alba Alba looking gorgeous on Conan. No nudity, but it is Alba. Don't forget gang, "Sin City" opens in theaters today!

    Eva Longoria
    Nicolette Sheridan
    Sharon Lawrence

    From last week's episode of "Desperate Housewives"...Eva looked awesome in a bikini, Nicolette stuffed herself into some skin tight clothes and Sharon showed some upskirt undies views.

    Jolene Blalock The sexy Vulcan wearing semi-revealing pajamas in scenes from last week's re-run of "Enterprise". Unless the Trekkies and Trekkers out there can reverse the cancellation, the final 6 episodes of "Enterprise" begin airing April 15th.

    Paris Hilton Here is Paris showing the press that she wears dental floss for undies. In her words..."Camel toe, that's hot."

    Donna Sarrasin
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)

    Flautista 'caps of the B-actress topless and in her undies in scenes from her first movie "Witchboard III: The Possession".

    Vanessa Ferlito
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

    Julian Wells (as Suzy McCoppin)
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

    Señor Skin 'caps from the made for HBO movie "Undefeated" (2003). Starring, co-written and directed by John Leguizamo. Not a bad boxing movie, but no new ground is covered either. Both actresses go topless and show some rear nudity.

    Pat Reeder
    Pat's comments in yellow...

    "A Long Time Ago..." - Carrie "Princess Leia" Fisher says now that the "Star Wars" movies are ending, she's signed a deal to write a tell-all book. She kept detailed diaries of her on-set experiences and promises "it will be riveting." A sample: they made her promise to drop 10 pounds and she "failed miserably." So when they asked how she liked her horrible coiffure, which she called "hairy donuts," she told them she loved it "to distract them from the fact that I was a bit fat."

  • So fat, donuts were sprouting from her head!
  • Ironically, that hairdo made her face look 10 pounds heavier.
  • She's right: I'm riveted.

    Ancient History - Mattel and Golden Books are teaming up to teach kids about history with a book series called "Barbie Diary of the Decade." Each book will resemble a diary written by Barbie in a particular year. The first two will be 1964, in which Barbie writes about seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan's show and learning about civil rights from her African-American friend, Christie; and 1976, in which Disco Barbie plans a dance and describes her trip to Philadelphia for the Bicentennial, where she sees Rocky on the museum steps.

  • And Rocky takes her to Studio 54, where she meets Forrest Gump.
  • '76 was also the year Disco Barbie discovered that Disco Ken was gay.
  • By '76, Barbie had taken too many drugs to remember the '60s.
  • It's the first history book in which all the "i's" are dotted with little hearts.

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